The One and Only Reason People Buy Healthcare. (What Are You Selling?)

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

success is selling happinessEvery day we see a sign for “Oral Surgery” or read a healthcare advertising headline that is mainly the physician’s or hospital’s name. Unfortunately for the marketing budget, it’s not advertising…it’s a failure to communicate. Whatever the intent, the medical marketing message missed its mark.

The fundamental truth here is that no one goes shopping to buy “a surgery,” or a medical treatment. People go shopping for some greater well-being for themselves. It sounds obvious, but it’s a common mistake in healthcare marketing for the physician practice, medical group, hospital or healthcare entity to want to advertise or promote what they do (urologic surgery, perhaps) or how they do it (robotic surgery, for example).

Although these things can play a part in a persuasive message, the prospective patient’s primary need—and the answer to the patient’s need—is understood in human terms, not medical terms. It is the result, not the means, which is most important to the prospective patient. People purchase healthcare services to realize one or more life-improvement benefits. The list includes pain relief, productivity, abilities, confidence, appearance, personal relationships and peace of mind.

In a word, what the patient is buying is happiness. It’s the one and only reason people buy healthcare.

Now ask yourself, what are you really selling? To find your marketing edge, your effective advertising message or the essence of your unique selling proposition (USP), look first to what the patient or customer wants to buy.

Translate the features (experienced practitioner, latest technology) into benefits (fast recovery, improved appearance). How will the prospective patient benefit, what are the tangible or intangible results that patients might realize, and how do you quantify these benefits?

Read more about patient-centered benefits and how to create a differentiating brand on the Healthcare Success website. And to bring your healthcare marketing and advertising effort into focus and build your bottom line, here’s how we can help.

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.

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